Sweet tea festival returns in early October

Published 1:15 pm Friday, July 2, 2021

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Poplarville, Miss., can expect a sweet treat this fall in the form of the Sweet Mississippi Tea Festival returning to downtown.

Organizers are looking forward to a fun event as the festival has been approved for the upcoming dates of Oct. 8-9.

“The planning committee for this year’s SMTF is very excited to host this year’s tea festival in Poplarville,” SMTF co-founder and board member Jeff Brown said. “We know many of you enjoyed the event we hosted in 2019 and know this year will be even better with more events to look forward to.”

In working toward the two-day festival, organizers have named Poplarville local, Jacob Cochran, as Director of the Sweet Mississippi Tea Festival.

Cochran is looking forward to building upon the success of the festival’s debut in 2019 by adding even more events and making adjustments based on attendees’ feedback.

“We want to expand advertising to make sure everyone is aware of the event and feels welcome to join in,” Cochran said. “We will also have exhibitors open during the time of the on stage performances to ensure larger crowds and a fun atmosphere for everyone.”

The SMTF is a two-day festival that was originally born out of an interest in a cooler weather festival for locals to enjoy, while creating opportunities to boost local charities and foster positive partnerships within the community.

“We are excited that the city secured the grant to build the City Square Pavilion,” Cochran said. “This gives our musical acts a covered stage on which to perform. We love seeing these developments being that one of the goals of this festival is to boost that feeling of a downtown that is alive.

Along with arts and food vendors, the festival will include the return of the high tea sponsored by the Women’s Club of Poplarville and spearheaded by member Katrina Mizell.

Mizell won Woman of the Year in 2020 for her continuous efforts in raising several thousand dollars for the organization. The club subsequently placed third in the state for fundraising.

“Katrina is a lifelong friend of mine,” Cochran said. “I’ve seen what she has done for the community and I know that she will make sure things run smoothly and efficiently.”

The high tea will be themed. Tables will be decorated accordingly and live music will accompany the event.

A newcomer to the event lineup will be a farm-to-table dinner the Friday night of the festival. A chef will plan the menu by working with local farms to create a unique and delicious experience.

“There has already been a lot of buzz around the farm to table event even in the planning stage,” Cochran said. “I’m honestly anticipating tickets to sell out as soon as they go on sale.”

The idea came from SMTF board member April Grecho’s participation in farm-to-table events and her interest in bringing that experience to Poplarville.

The festival was also approved during the latest city board meeting to offer the sale of beer and light wine during this year’s festivities.

There are other events in the works to create partnerships with local charities and organizations while providing a fun and inviting atmosphere for this year’s patrons.

Several local businesses and individuals have committed to supporting the SMTF and the organization is still in the process of accepting sponsorships. Anyone interested in a sponsorship can email info@smteafest.com.